These past few weeks have been a strain on everyone, from the front-line workers to the “essential workers” to those forced to stay home. Professional genealogists and hobby family researchers are eagerly waiting for archives, government offices, and libraries to reopen. Genealogical conferences and institutes have reconfigured to virtual offerings for summer and fall events. Genealogical societies have canceled in-person meetings, and some have elected to offer virtual meetings. I came across this blog post from 2016 that has me wondering why some societies continue to resist offering virtual options.
While in-person meetings are great for the social interaction and for those who do not feel comfortable venturing to online offerings, membership benefits are limited to only those who can attend in person. What about those members who cannot attend in person because they have other commitments (family, work, church, etc.)? What about family researchers who have roots in the area but are too far away to attend meetings?
We, as a community, need to step up our game. There are potential members out there that we need to reach. As we await the reopening of our libraries and conference rooms, we cannot predict how long it will be before we are once again allowed to hold in-person meetings. We also do not know what the social distancing restrictions will be nor how long they will be in place. Now is the time to offer more to our members and our community rather than completely shutting everything down.
I am getting started with virtual DNA interest groups. I look forward to “meeting” with people again.